E3 2015: Microsoft Shows Off Minecraft Working With Hololens
What seemingly stole the show this morning at the Microsoft E3 press conference, is the new presentation of Hololens. If you’re unfamiliar with Hololens, it’s Microsoft’s augmented reality headset, or AR for short. The company announced they we’re working on this AR project back in January, and showed off how this technology can enhance your life in your home or business.
But today is a video game expo, and Microsoft decided to show off how Hololens can systematically change the way we play video games, and more specifically, their newly purchased Minecraft series.
During the presentation, a guy was sitting on the couch playing Minecraft through Hololens. But instead of looking at a television, it was simulating a projector screen on the wall. A woman was playing the game on her tablet, and she seemingly entered the guys server, and they were playing together. The guy wanted to get a better view on where she was, so he stood up, looked at a table and instantly the map grew on his table in 3D. From there he was able to walk around the table, zoom in and look in fine detail of where she was walking around. He was even able to create markers on the map that she could see by the flick of his fingers. It truly was an incredible experience and you can watch the entire thing above.
As great of a presentation as this was, Microsoft was manipulating a tad; and they have since they announced their headset. Right now, AR’s biggest obstacle is its inability to include a wide field of view. What this means exactly is the user will have a limited view of these graphics appearing in reality. Basically, you will not see anything in your peripheral vision. The graphic visualization will only be present in the center part of your vision. And for many people, this will feel unnatural and even at times, distracting. So in order to look at the graphics in your field of view, you’re physically going to have to move your head not your pupils. This shortcoming is something that plagues all AR units. And unfortunately there has yet to be a breakthrough.
Virtual-reality also has this problem, but to a much lesser extent. So far the best VR experience has between 100-110 degrees of field of view. With AR , more specifically Hololens, it has about 50 degrees. Basically half.
I’m a big proponent of VR and AR. I truly think it’s going to push developers to change the way we play video games, and I think that is needed for this industry to grow. And I think there’s a possibility that there is room for both VR & AR. And eventually… they’ll merge as one.